Two group leaders of a Hyderabad-based adventure club with several years of experience in trekking and mountaineering are missing since Sunday in the Bababudangiri hills region.
The senior trekkers, Vivek Gupta (30) and Sashidhar (27), were leading a team of 10 people from Greater Hyderabad Adventure Club (GHAC) on a 50 km trek through Mullayanagiri, Bababudangiri and Hebbe Falls in the Western Ghats.
The team, including an IRS officer, reached Bababudangiri guest house on Saturday evening and began their trek from Gaalikere on Sunday. Only eight members of the team, along with the IRS officer, returned in the afternoon.
Officials from the forest and police department, and members of Adventure Club, Chikkamagaluru, have formed three teams to trace the trekkers. The teams have been carrying out search operations in and around Gaalikere since Sunday night.
Heavy rain, leaches and mist has affected the search operation. During the search operations on Monday in Gaalikere, four staff members of Muthodi forest range went missing which led to a tense situation, but they later managed to rejoin the team.
SP K Santhosh Babu said: “Two trekkers went missing from Sunday. The search operation is on. There is no trace of trekkers till Monday night.”
Trying a new route
Suresh Kochattil, co-organiser of GHAC, told Deccan Herald: “It is surprising that two of our senior trekkers with lots of experience who were on their way to find an alternative trekking route went missing, while all the new members returned.”
Gupta, the assistant organiser and event host, is a Data Analyst by profession. He joined GHAC in 2012 and has organised more than 150 trekking events.
Sashidhar, a Java programmer, has undertaken an expedition to Mt Everest base camp.
The two trekkers are equipped with compasses as GPS devises do not work in thick forests as the heavy canopy stalls satellite vision.
Suresh said Gupta and Sashidhar have been trained by the Army in survival skills.
“Both can survive for three days without any help as both eat anything to survive and use stars to find their way out from any dense forest,” he said.
“If they have entered the forest we are confident that they would survive and find their way out,” said Diyanat Ali, co-organiser who is leading one of the search parties. However, in case someone has broken a leg, then they might have to wait till help arrives.